Growing up, Rob spent his summers in Maine, a fact that gives me full rights (I think) to decorate our house like a ship. We have boxes and boxes and boxes of buoys in our garage: One day, I intend to tile a room with them (Rob intends to un-tile that room). Rob’s family’s house is in a sleepy cove in Cape Elizabeth, a lovely, quiet spot about 20 minutes from Portland that feels so deeply American, there’s an Edward Hopper lighthouse in their backyard. It might be one of the most beautiful places in the country—after Montana (where I’m from), of course. Anyway, we don’t do a lot when we visit Maine: I go for an occasional run, Rob jumps in the preternaturally freezing water repeatedly, everyone eats lobster (except me) and lots and lots of ice cream, and we sit out on the porch and look at the ocean and read and make friendship bracelets. It’s pretty dreamy. And when it gets too dreamy, we drive into Portland and wander around downtown to check out the lobster boats and awesome old-world commercial buildings, and yes, the shopping. In short: There’s some really good stuff in Portland.
I can’t pass up a gradation moment; Rob skips rocks on the beach.
Portland Museum of Art Gift Shop: This is a great, small museum (packed with Winslow Homer) that can easily fill a rainy afternoon—and the adjoining gift shop, which offers the largest selection of art books in the state, is rad, too. Schlepping coffee table tomes home isn’t an option anymore now that we don’t drive to and from New York, but we love seeing what they have regardless (they have lots of great home goods, too, many of which are made in Maine). Plus: Everything is displayed on Vitsoe shelving, which Rob always loves to see.
clockwise, l-r: KNIFE’S EDGE TEA TOWEL, $26.00, Portland Museum of Art Gift Shop; THIRD DRAWER DOWN BATTLES RAINBOW PILLOW CASES, $75.00, Portland Museum of Art Gift Shop; MOBY DICK BOTTLE STOPPER KIT, $48.00, Portland Museum of Art Gift Shop; YELLOW OWL WORKSHOP SHELL STAMP KIT, $12.00, Portland Museum of Art Gift Shop.
Rogues Gallery: These guys are also the creative directors behind the awesome L.L. Bean Signature line (which for some reason, is only sold online, and not in the famed L.L. Bean up in Freeport, which is open 24 hours a day). Sadly, they used to have a supremely cool shop on one of Portland’s historic, maritime alleys, but it shut down this spring. Fortunately, you can still shop the collection of Rogues Gallery t-shirts et al, online.
Black Parrot: True story: I try to go to Black Parrot every single time I’m in Portland, and every time it’s closed. I’ve never actually stepped inside. Maybe I’ll have some luck this weekend. You can kind of shop its blog, which only wets my appetite to get in there in person. How rad are these necklaces by Tzrui Gueta (made by forcing silicone through lace), and if that Rachel Antonoff silk dress is still in stock, it’s mine.
Blanche & Mimi: Part vintage home goods shop, part baby boutique, Blanche & Mimi has only been around for a few years (but seems like something that’s been there forever). I love stocking up on baby presents there, plus they always have great maritime finds, like wooden buoys and old-school lanterns. They don’t have full e-commerce, but they post a smattering of stuff on their blog, which you can call to buy.
clockwise, l-r: PILLIVUYT PORCELAIN, $11.00-$36.00, Blanche & Mimi; CAFE BOWLS, $14.00, Blanche & Mimi; VINTAGE TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER, $16.00, Blanche & Mimi; BLABLA BABY T-SHIRTS, $20.00, Blanche & Mimi.
Stonewall Kitchen: This is Maine’s answer to Williams-Sonoma and we can’t leave without bringing back their grapefruit hand soap and raspberry jam in bulk. Beyond food-stuffs, they also stock loads of useful kitchen gadgets and Maritime-themed home goods.
clockwise, l-r: AMERICA’S CUP TRAY, $94.95, Stonewall Kitchen; ANCHOR BOTTLE OPENER, $31.95, Stonewall Kitchen; MELAMIME DINNER PLATES, $46.95 (set of four), Stonewall Kitchen; WHEEL ROPE DOG TOY, $16.95, Stonewall Kitchen.
Seabags: Occupying a tiny spot on the working wharf itself, these guys were some of the first to transform sailcloth into totes (they’ve been doing it since 1999)—and they’re still kind of the best at it. I’m really digging this lifeguard bag. They also have a spot at Freeport Outlets, plus you can design your own tote…which kind of appeals, right?